Bad News For People Who Aren’t Us — You Can Be Fired For Being Hot
You certainly can’t fire somebody just for being a woman. However if that woman happens to be also be “irresistible,” her attractiveness can well be grounds for termination, apparently. Seems unfair and counterintuitive, but it’s true.
That’s the takeaway from strange case of dental assistant Melissa Nelson, who was fired after ten years of otherwise satisfactory service because her boss, James Knight, was finding himself attracted to her and this didn’t sit well with his wife. She demanded that he fire her, after consulting with their church pastor.
Nelson sued Knight for wrongful termination, but now both a lower court and Iowa’s Supreme Court have ruled that the firing was, in fact, legal. Huh?
“We do think the Iowa Supreme Court got it completely right,” Knight’s attorney Stuart Cochrane explained. “Our position has always been Mrs. Nelson was never terminated because of her gender, she was terminated because of concerns her behavior was not appropriate in the workplace. She’s an attractive lady. Dr. Knight found her behavior and dress to be inappropriate.”
While Knight and Nelson –who is also married — never had sexual relations, Knight had commented on more than one occasion that her clothing was too tight. However, that complaint didn’t prevent him from maintaining a friendly relationship outside of work with his assistant. They shared text messages about their children, and Knight once sent Nelson a text message question about her how often she orgasms, to which Nelson didn’t respond.
It was when Knight’s wife discovered that the two were texting that she demanded Nelson be fired.
Nelson, 32, thought of the 53-year-old Knight as “father figure” and said she was completely floored when she was let go. Now it looks like she won’t be getting her job back through the courts.
What do you think? Should hotness be a firing offense?